“Nessie, dear, have you made a decision?”
I shrugged indifference, not looking up from the book I was reading. My parents have been pressuring me for an answer about going on the trip with them. They leave in two days and I haven’t been able to give them a straight answer. I don’t want to leave, but I don’t want them to leave without me again. Why can’t they just stay with me for a while?
“Nessie”, my mother said carefully. “We have to finalize our plans today, I need an answer yes or no.”
I slapped my book shut and glared at her, causing her to step back a bit. She was shocked by my anger, and I was a little shocked too. I couldn’t help it. Every time either one of my parents brought up leaving I felt my skin boiling with rage.
I stalked out of the room without saying a word, what could I say that hadn’t already been said over the years? I have just become an adult and I am completely aimless, yet they can’t stop their lives for one second to help me.
I felt tears burning my eyes as I shut myself into my bedroom.
I had been sulking in my room for a while when I heard a knock at the front door. I know that knock.
“Hey Nellie! It is great to see you!”
“Hello Hugh, nice to see you too. How is University?”
“Going good, just one year left. Where is our new graduate? I feel terrible I couldn’t be here for it.”
“She is in her room.”
I could hear his footsteps coming toward my door. I wiped my eyes, waiting for his knock.
He tapped lightly on the door.”Hey Nes, can I come in?”
Turning on the light, I opened the door. He stepped in smiling, like he always was. I wanted to smile back but I didn’t. I kept my eyes low trying to hide that I had been crying.
“What, no hug?” He said jokingly, half-heartedly holding out his arms. He knows how I am about personal space.
But today is different. Today that little string that has been holding my emotions together snapped the moment he knocked on that door.
I ran into his arms, sobbing into his shoulder.
“Woah woah woah, what is going on here?” He tentatively wrapped his arms around me. “What’s wrong?”
A couple minutes passed as I composed myself. “I’m sorry.”, I sniffled as I pulled myself away. My cheeks started to burn with embarrassment when I saw the wet spot on his shoulder. “Sorry.”, I said again as brushed my hand over it, irrationally hoping it would magically disappear.
He barely glanced away from my face. His eyes were full of concern, I had never cried in front of him before. Whenever I was feeling emotional I talked to Enya.
“Nes, What’s wrong? Is it your parents being home?”
I shook my head, but then nodded. “Sort of. It…It’s..they want me to go with them when they leave and…I don’t know what to do. I don’t want that life, Hugh, and they won’t spare a moment to think of me and what I want, or to help me get there.”
“What do you want? I’m sure if you told them…”
“I don’t know what I want!!” I cut him off, fresh tears streaming from my eyes.” It’s not that simple.”
“You must want something, anything.” He said quietly.
After a moment, “I want them to stay with me, for just a while. I…want them to acknowledge that what I like to do, and that who I am, matters.
I felt my anger rising,”All I hear from them is how much I am missing out in their lives, and how fulfilling their lives are, and how I should join them for old times sake.”
Hugh sighed and stepped back to look at me. I started to feel guilty that he had come here happy and was being pulled down by my sadness.
He lightly put his hands on my arms,”Nessie, listen to me.” He gave me a tug, causing me to look into his eyes.
“I know that your parents have hurt you, I have seen that for a long time, trust me. But they are still your parents and they do love you, despite what you think. You should give them another chance. They may not ever see things your way, but you can’t go on with your life if you hold onto this anger.”
I broke my gaze and he dropped his hands to his sides
“I think you should go with them.”, a tiny smirk starting at the corner of his mouth
What did he say? He must be joking! Looking into his eyes I knew he was serious.
“No….no, no, no” I shook my head as I walked over to look out the window.
“It has been a long time since you have, and you might be surprised by how things look when you are an adult.”
I stood silent for a minute, regretting that I wasn’t talking to Enya about this. She would just listen and comfort me, not….be right about everything, damn it. At least about the anger part, I am sure I won’t feel any different about jetting half way around the world to live in some shoddy tent for a month. Besides I can’t just leave when…
Hugh broke the silence,”I’m only here for the weekend, if you are thinking of using me being home as an excuse by the way.”
He could tell he had caught what I was thinking, giving me that smug look he always did when he had read my mind.
“Rock, Paper, Scissors?” He taunted.
“I’m not giving you that satisfaction.” I shot back, a smile daring to form on my lips.
He chuckled softly and started to pull what looked like a rolled up magazine from his pocket.
“Uh, here I got you this for your graduation. They have these at the science center at the University. I always…uh…I thought you would like them”
It was a copy of the Simternational Journal of Engineering Science. Interesting.
He quickly added,”I got you a subscription, it’s not like I just swiped the latest copy from the library.”
I sat down on the edge of my bed flipping through the pages. Articles about inventions and potions, discussions on experiments, and even something called a Simbot! I have got to read about that…
Hugh cleared his throat, snapping me out of my trance.
“Oh, yeah” I let out a nervous laugh. “Thank you, Hugh. This is really nice of you.”
He shrugged as he sat down next to me “Now you have something to read on the plane.”
That again. I put my hands over my face and groaned as I fell back on the bed.
“Fine, I’ll go with them.” The words felt empty but I had said them, I said them out loud, I said them to someone who will hold me accountable. I have to do it now.
We spent the rest of the evening talking about his time at University and our plans for the summer. He is going to do a summer program so he will be gone. I’m just going to do what I always do, but maybe I will get a job somewhere. I’ll worry about that after I get back from God-knows-where.
By the time he left I was feeling much better. He had plans for the next day so this would be the last time I saw him for a while. I told my parents to include me in their plans, but I didn’t have the energy to talk about where we would be going and what we would be doing. I’ll deal with that tomorrow.
I shut the door to my room and flopped down on my bed, still wondering how he had convinced me to agree to go as I opened up my new magazine. I turned to the article about the Simbot.
This should be a very interesting summer.